Charlie, since you are talking about Niner steel bikes, my SIR9 with 1x9 setup is 24.8 lbs. This is with lightweight Crest wheels and Rocket Ron tires. If I put my beefier set of wheels/tires on it (Mavic TN719 rims, DT 350 hubs, Bronson tires), it weighs about 26 lbs.
This is my version of "budget weight weenie". Some stuff from ebay, some stuff used, some new parts bought at wholesale cost through family bike shop connection.
SIR9 medium frame (bought off ebay)
2011 Fox Terralogic fork 100mm (bought off ebay)
King headset & spacers
ZTR Crest wheels
Rocket Ron tires
X0 crank with Homebrewed 30T chainring
X0 rear derailleur (bought used from MORE member)
X0 twist shifter (bought used from MORE member)
ESI Chunky grips
PG 990 cassette, 11-34 (bought used from MORE member)
Paul Chain Keeper
Salsa Pro Moto flat bars, 11 degree sweep, cut to 690mm wide
Ritchey Ergo bar-ends (I know bar ends are out of fashion, but I've always liked them)
Thomson stem, 0 rise
Thomson Elite seatpost (bought used from you, Charlie)
Fizik Gobi XM saddle (already had)
2012 XT brakes with 160mm Ice Tech rotors
My full-suspension 29er with 2x10, XT-level build, and 120mm fork is only about 1 lb. heavier than the SIR9.